Covid vaccines to be offered at Victorious Festival in Portsmouth
FESTIVAL goers will have the chance to get vaccinated against Covid during the city’s largest summer event, amid concerns over the number of young people getting jabbed.
A walk-in vaccine station will be set up at Victorious Festival, which will take place on Southsea Common at the end of August, as part of a wider push to boost uptake among younger age groups.
First or second dose Pfizer jabs are set to be made available to those aged 18 and above without appointment - although people attending the event will still need to prove that they are either already fully vaccinated, have had a negative lateral flow test or have natural immunity to gain entry.
It’s one of several measures being taken to try to encourage younger age groups to get vaccinated.
On August 19, Eden bar and restaurant in Gunwharf Quays will offer walk-in vaccines between 12 and 6pm.
And on 25 August, Cosham Fire Station will do the same.
The student population will also be targeted during the first three weeks of the next term, with a pop-up clinic held once a week on campus.
Portsmouth council leader, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, hoped the move would encourage ‘harder to reach groups’ who otherwise wouldn’t attend appointments at surgeries or vaccine hubs.
‘We know fewer young people are getting vaccinated than older people in Portsmouth for whatever reason - they might be busy and have other priorities or think they’re not at risk,’ he said.
‘This is shown in our overall numbers of people getting vaccinated in Portsmouth, which is to do with the fact we have a young population.
‘So we’ve been working to make it easier for them to come and get their vaccinations. It is hugely important that everyone is vaccinated. We know it is reducing the number of people needing to go to hospital.
‘It is our way out of all this.’
It comes as government data up to August 11 showed 63.3 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds in Portsmouth had at least one vaccine, and 59.5 per cent of 25 to 29 year olds had theirs.
65.3 per cent of 30 to 3-year-olds had theirs, with uptake rising with each age group.
Helen Atkinson, director of public health for the city, said: ‘We know there is still some hesitancy among young people to have the Covid-19 vaccine, but as infections continue to increase - particularly among the 18-29 age group - we want to reassure everyone that the vaccines are safe and effective, and they do offer the best protection against both getting the virus as well as the risk of getting Long Covid following getting the virus.’
Around one in 10 Covid patients currently being treated at Queen Alexandra Hospital are aged under 35.
Dr Mark Roland, deputy medical director at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, said: ‘We are currently treating a small number of patients with Covid-19 between 18 and 34 at QA Hospital.
‘We continue to urge everyone who is eligible for a vaccination to get both doses – not only will this mean you are protecting yourself, you will be helping to protect your friends, families and the clinically vulnerable people in our communities.’
Previous walk-in clinics in the city have also proved a success.
Around 100 people were given jabs at a pop-in vaccination station at Mr Miyagi’s bar in the city centre and more than 200 attended jabs at Fratton Park in July.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson added: ‘If people are familiar with the surroundings they might be more likely to get their vaccine.
‘We are also in talks with Portsmouth Football Club about holding a vaccine clinic during every home game for fans to attend.
‘I am really pleased with all the work we have done so far with different groups and communities to encourage vaccine uptake.’
Overall in Portsmouth 145,439 adults - or 76.5 per cent - have had at least one jab, compared to 82.7 per cent in the south east and 78.5 per cent in England.
It is expected a plan on how to rollout vaccines for 16 and 17-year-olds will be revealed soon, as well as booster jabs later this year.
The News launched the Grab a Jab campaign to try to increase the numbers of vaccinations being administered in Portsmouth, and so help the city catch up with neighbouring towns which are seeing much higher rates.
The vaccine station at Victorious will be run by Solent NHS.
‘Now is the time’ for young people to get vaccinated
THE chairman of Healthwatch Portsmouth has urged young people to ‘take advantage’ of the opportunity to get vaccinated against Covid.
Roger Batterbury said: ‘We support the drive to encourage young people get vaccinated against Covid-19. Anyone who is vaccinated using an NHS approved facility is far less likely to have Covid-19 symptoms, less likely be admitted to hospital, or to die from it.
‘Anyone who is vaccinated is also far less likely to pass the virus on to others – which means that a vaccinated person it is protecting themselves, their loved ones and the wider community as our social life returns to normality.
‘Portsmouth has a large younger population, and we hear that services have had issues engaging with this group. Healthwatch Portsmouth can understand that some young people are hesitant about having the vaccine or think they don’t really need to because the majority of 18 – 29-year-olds in the city have had the vaccine so far. A higher uptake of the vaccine though will mean we’ll have a higher protection rate for everyone in the city, with fewer infections and deaths.
‘Now is the time for young people to take advantage of the opportunity to get their first and/or second dose of the Covid vaccination before September when we hear that evidence of vaccination status will be required for entry into nightclubs. The interval between first and second doses has now been reduced to eight weeks which will help younger adults get fully vaccinated more quickly and be able to show their full vaccination status at forthcoming events, venues and when travelling abroad. With Victorious festival taking place at the end of the month, now is a great time to get your first or second vaccination.’
To book a vaccine visit nhs.uk or phone 119.
‘Extra peace of mind’
A SOCIAL media star from Portsmouth is encouraging others to follow suit and get vaccinated.
TikTok influencer Flo Simpson, 22, said: ‘It was so easy for me to book mine - my GP text me a link and it was booked in under 30 seconds.
‘Everything is so well organised on the day, everyone was super friendly. It didn’t hurt at all and the longest part is sitting for 15 minutes after you’ve had your vaccine to make sure you don’t have a bad reaction.
‘I have had both of mine now and it’s just giving me that extra peace of mind that not only am I protecting myself but protecting others around me - especially as the country has fully opened back up.’